Holocaust survivors gather in Kolin to remember "special transport"


The brutal reprisals for the assassination 60 years ago of the Nazi governor of Bohemia and Moravia - Reinhardt Heydrich - are well known. Two villages - Lidice and Lezaky - were razed to the ground, their inhabitants shot or sent to concentration camps. But almost unknown is the fact that 1,000 Jews from the town of Kolin were rounded up and transported to the camps, never to be seen again. A handful were spared that "special" transport, among them the writer Hana Greenfield, who was later sent to Terezin, Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen. This weekend she will join a group of 40 Jews from six congregations around the world, who will gather in Kolin to remember the dead.

"Sixty years ago on the 10th of June, 1942, there was a transport put together hastily with a thousand Czech citizens - Jews - in the aftermath of the assassination of Reinhardt Heydrich as a penalty transport. This transport was the only one that did not go into the ghetto Terezin, but remained standing outside in Bohosovice. There was a train already waiting, and they filled it up, and then they were counting. And they were counting over and over, many times, because the order was to kill 1,000 Jews. Since there were 1,050 on that train, they took out 50 people, among them my mother, my sister and me, and with our luggage we were marched the three kilometres to Terezin, while the train left with 1,000 people. They were never heard of again."

The story of the destruction of Lidice and Lezaky is well known. But Hana Greenfield says she bears a moral responsibility to tell the world the less well-known story of Kolin, sixty years ago.

Transport to Terezin
"In the aftermath of the assassination of Reinhardt Heydrich, Lidice was eliminated. Lidice, a small village in the Czech Republic, became well known for the atrocity that the Germans committed. But the fact that 1,000 Jews were also killed as a reprisal for the same reason has never been made public. I have taken it upon myself and felt I owe it to those that perished at least to commemorate their memory, and so on the ninth of June, on Sunday at 9.30 in the morning, we are having an assembly of the very few of us that survived."

Hana Greenfield, speaking to Radio Prague on the 60th anniversary of the "special" transport of Jews from Kolin, on the tenth of June, 1942.